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Is it better to buy or hire mics


Saxymusic82
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Also worth considering that when you buy equipment you are stuck with it until you can afford to replace it. When you hire you can get the latest kit (or choose the older stuff for a cheaper price). Hiring gives you flexibility to go for more or fewer channels, different specs, different mic capsules, different colours (aiming to improve diversity in your group?), different battery systems, add some handhelds etc.

Owning means they're good to go year round, whenever you want them. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it can be a curse.

Can you get your money's worth out of owning them before they become obsolete - particularly relevant for RF kit. Even if your kit isn't made obsolete by the government selling that frequency band (which usually gathers compensation) your hand may be forced by the government selling an adjacent band and everyone moving into the band you're in.

I have an issue at work that our rf kit tunes 606-678MHz, and Sutton Coldfield's TV transmissions are nearly all in that same band having moved out of other bands as they were sold off. No compensation as our kit hasn't been made illegal to use, but my options for available frequencies have significantly narrowed.

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Wow. I wasn’t expecting so many replies so quickly. Thank you so much for all your comments, some really helpful information. 

As requested a little more information. 

  • It would be radio mics. From memory for a Panto we usually get away with 12
  • We pretty much always perform in the same venue. It’s a theatre based in a secondary school. I was the head of music there in the past but that’s another story. I’ll be honest I don’t know the sound set up. It wasn’t something I got involved in but I can find out. And at least I know now who to ask and the kind of questions. 
  • We do have our own rehearsal space. It is secure but I would want to check on temp and conditions before storing any sound equipment there. 
  • And yes we do need them. I’m all for projection but with the size of the theatre even I will concede that mics are needed. 

All these answers have given me a lot to think about. Sound is something I am keen to learn more about and I know feel I have a better understanding on what questions I need to be asking and who too. There’s a thriving amdram community in our area so I might reach out to find out what they do. 

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Another vote here for hiring rather than buying.

The purchase of a dozen GOOD quality radio mic sets is going to set you back several thousand pounds, - DON'T be tempted to go down a budget route thinking that it will be more financially viable - as with many things, that's going to be a false economy.

Owning your own mics also means that you will need to keep on top of repairing/replacing the mic heads, too, and whilst there are some fairly decent options in the budget ranges (eg from CPC etc) you're still looking around the £30 per head area for something decent.

 

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1 minute ago, Ynot said:

Another vote here for hiring rather than buying.

The purchase of a dozen GOOD quality radio mic sets is going to set you back several thousand pounds, - DON'T be tempted to go down a budget route thinking that it will be more financially viable - as with many things, that's going to be a false economy.

Owning your own mics also means that you will need to keep on top of repairing/replacing the mic heads, too, and whilst there are some fairly decent options in the budget ranges (eg from CPC etc) you're still looking around the £30 per head area for something decent.

 

Thank you. I hadn’t even considered the fact they would need maintaining. Plus I know the committee would be keen for us to hire them to groups as a way to get back some of the money. But that comes with it’s own risks. 
I’m definitely going to advise hiring over buying from all that I’ve learned so far!

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On the other hand...  When I was doing Am-Dram, it was an UTTER pain in the **** for me to collect and return hires.  Maybe there is more use of carriers now, but that too would have been difficult as I'd have had to take at least part of a day off work at either end of the hire to  be at the theatre.

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2 hours ago, Saxymusic82 said:

Thank you. I hadn’t even considered the fact they would need maintaining. Plus I know the committee would be keen for us to hire them to groups as a way to get back some of the money. But that comes with it’s own risks. 
I’m definitely going to advise hiring over buying from all that I’ve learned so far!

Well at the risk of repeating what has been said for what it's worth my advice (for over forty five years now)  for all infrequent users of anything technical is invariably to hire. Please do not let anybody he suggest you get into the business of thinking that you can buy the stuff and then work off the purchase price of anything by hiring it out yourself. Many a beautiful friendship has run aground on those rocks. Andrew is right though - factor in returning and collection  however it's done. It does take time and need to be planned for. 

Edited by Junior8
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  • 1 month later...

My experience in a school led me to this conclusion.  We had three Channel 70 and a couple of old VHF headset mics which we used to train the student technicians and actors to use them with care and respect.  When we needed larger numbers we hired them in.  The students already knew how to use the mics and we'd established protocols for transfers etc if needed, so it wasn't a last minute extra when they were all excited close to showtime.   Just before I retired we had funds to buy a set of 10 Channel 38 headsets.  We got a decent deal from 10 out of 10 (no connection) and felt it would be a worthwhile investment.  I retired in 2020 and I'm informed they've just been used for the first time since, but no-one was thinking we'd have Covid in the way.  I think the OP needs to consider what the company's needs are and act accordingly.  There is only the answer that's right for the company.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looks like the answer is borderline swinging towards renting.

I have 12 channels of Sennheiser XSW with cheap headsets which I use with a children's musical drama group. We will now be back to doing 3 or 4 shows a year, some revue and some musicals and the panto. I bought them personally because my daughter was a member and the group really could not afford to hire. As has been said 12 channels could be as much as £600 hire cost and you have to pick them up and take them back. 2-3 years pre-covid and now panto onwards last year I reckon they have more than paid for themselves at a purchase cost of around £300 per channel and a couple of hundred for racks and multiways etc. I have also used them recently with another musical theatre group and at that show another director asked if they could rent them as well. Its not the only gear I have with a small pa and mixing console so they are part of a 'package' I use.

The main drawback is the maintenance. Before each show the sets have to be checked carefully and the headsets fixed up and replaced as needed. Expect to write off a few headsets each year and spend an evening preparing. Dont forget batteries as a cost whether you rent or purchase but they have to be factored in to the yearly costs to the committee whichever way you go. I estimate £5 per performance or rehearsal.

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